No Chromebook For Me!

With the release of the Samsung Series 5 550 chromebook  I have been seriously considering going google for my next mobile computer. But As I started evaluating what it is I need from a mobile workstation, I realized I won’t be able to do everything I need with the chromebook. While I do spend the majority of my time in a chrome browser using cloud apps, I’m also an IT guy that needs to be able to access Windows Servers remotely. The most basic and universal way to do this is with RDP. Chrome OS does not support RDP and the HTML 5 options that Google points to are pay to play and require installing more access infrastructure on my servers than I care to.

While there is a native Citrix ICA client, I’m not running a Citrix environment. My school district has invested heavily in VMWare View and I don’t see us moving away from that just so that I can connect to a few servers. Not having a native RDP client in Chrome OS (or a VMWare client) also limits the opportunity to give my users chromebooks because I can’t provide access to those legacy windows applications they use daily  without adding another layer (and more costs) onto my current infrastructure.

Having provided Teachers and staff first Ubermix Netbooks and then MacBooks as we migrated away from locked down Windows laptops, I was always able to provide access to those pesky legacy Windows apps through a generic RDP session back to a Terminal Server or a VM of their old desktop. I could easily do this because both Linux and Mac have free RDP clients that can connect directly to the server without additional components. So why isn’t there a native RDP client for Chrome OS? We all live in a Windows world. To pretend otherwise is silly. This is shifting, but not providing native access in the short term is frustrating. I don’t see what would be so hard about porting rdesktop to Chrome OS since Chrome OS it’s basically linux. The only people that can do this of course are at Google, since they control the OS. It would open up an entire migration path for users to switch quickly to Chromebooks without having to invest in expensive infrastructure just to connect to legacy windows apps.

It’s very disappointing in a way. I’m basically being forced by Google to buy a MacBook. PC Hardware (and battery life) is all just Blah to me after having been on a MacBook for the past year. I was hoping the Chromebook Series 5 550 would be the one to free me from Apple’s clutches. I really do use Chrome 90% of the time. Unfortunately the other 10% is invariably spent in RDP rebooting a Windows server…